FORCE HAS SOLID FRIDAY PERFORMANCE AT READING
READING, PA --- There are four races left in the Countdown to the Championship and everyone knows that moves need to be made this weekend at the 27th annual Auto Plus NHRA Nationals. John Force let the other Funny Car teams know that the 15-time Funny Car champion was not going to go quietly into the night as he recorded two of his best times in recent memory at Maple Grove Raceway. In the first session Force posted a 4.096 second run and capped it off with a 4.061 second run at 314.31 mph, good enough for the No. 4 provisional position.
“It appears my race car is getting back on track. We have struggled with testing and trying new things. We are just back in the game today,” said Force, a six-time winner at Maple Grove Raceway. ”There are only four races to go in this Countdown and if we are going to make a move we have to make it here at Reading. Mike Neff is tied with the lead and Robert Hight is right behind him. There are a bunch of good Dodges out there but at the end of the day these Fords will come out on top.”
“It has been pretty exciting today with all that is going on. At the end of the day we put three cars in the top twelve. We are in the show and we are worried about rain for tomorrow. I am confident with the way my hot rod ran today,” added the driver of the Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE Mustang. “I am glad to be back in Reading and I am glad to be battling in this Countdown. I’ve got Ford, Castrol, Mac Tools, Auto Club and BrandSource all supporting me. Mike Neff is killing them tuning and driving and my son-in-law Robert Hight is getting his car together to run for the championship. Life couldn’t get better.”
In the opening session all three John Force Racing Mustangs recorded runs in the 4.0 range led by points leader Mike Neff’s 4.085 second pass which was good enough for two qualifying bonus points. In the second session Neff smoked the tires running beside Matt Hagan.
“We were trying to make it run quicker and it was on a better run and when the clutch went to lock up it kicked the tires loose,” said Mike Neff, driver and tuner of the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang.
Finally Robert Hight is also looking for a get well weekend behind the wheel of his Auto Club Ford Mustang. In the first session he posted a 4.090 second run, picked up a qualifying bonus point and was poised to make more strides with the great conditions in the Friday night session.
Hight was paired with veteran Ron Capps as the third to last pair of Funny Cars and his Mustang launched hard and made a clean but slow pass down the race track.
“We set it up like the 4.03 run we made in Charlotte on Monday testing. It is just unpredictable. We are wearing a lot of clutch. That run was slow all the way down the track. I could not have been staged more shallow,” said Hight. “The bottom bulb was flickering. (Crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) is going to look at a couple of things for tomorrow. That first run was pretty good and we are going to make a few changes. The key is not to make big changes. We are going to creep up on a good tune up for Sunday.”
Hight will go into Saturday’s final day of qualifying as the provisional No. 7 qualifier two spots behind Neff the provisional No. 5 driver.